Ralph Waldo Emerson

(1803 - 1882 / Boston / United States)

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Fate


Deep in the man sits fast his fate
To mould his fortunes, mean or great:
Unknown to Cromwell as to me
Was Cromwell's measure or degree;
Unknown to him as to his horse,
If he than his groom be better or worse.
He works, plots, fights, in rude affairs,
With squires, lords, kings, his craft compares,
Till late he learned, through doubt and fear,
Broad England harbored not his peer:
Obeying time, the last to own
The Genius from its cloudy throne.
For the prevision is allied
Unto the thing so signified;
Or say, the foresight that awaits
Is the same Genius that creates.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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  • Rookie - 393 Points Michelle Claus (4/29/2014 10:45:00 AM)

    This poem spawns philosophical debate, and for me therein lies its merit. As a composition, though, I'm not a huge fan of this one. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 710 Points Gulsher John (4/29/2014 9:27:00 AM)

    there is no such things called Fate and destiny,
    the world or life(of any form) is reigned by CHANCE only...
    a physical phenomenon of mysterious nature...
    just close your eyes and get into the matrix. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 565 Points Francis Lynch (4/29/2014 6:13:00 AM)

    I don't understand how one can believe in fate, destiny, luck, serendipity and all other ways of rationalizing the chaos of events. Defining something with the undefineable is a circular argument. Each hour defines itself. (Report) Reply

  • Veteran Poet - 3,469 Points Daniel Brick (4/29/2014 5:26:00 AM)

    I agree 100% with what Sana Hernandez wrote about the distinction between fate and destiny. We are of the same mind on this issue, and in fact use the same words to articulate our point of view. The key factor involves the unchanging and unchangeable nature of fate. With regard to this force in the universe human beings can only bend their wills; nothing can be gained by kicking and screaming against fate. Othello realizes this in the fifth when he finally says, Who can control his fate? Destiny, in contrast, reflects the individual's personality and is malleable. It is the arena of our freedom, the space and time in which we make our personal mark on both. Sana, I'm happy to find someone who shares this clarity of vision with me. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 83 Points Meshack Bankole (4/29/2013 10:05:00 AM)

    Even our degree and cadre in life- the fate is obscure like the morrow that no one can peep through. Good work poet Ralph (Report) Reply

  • Freshman - 1,664 Points Is It Poetry (4/29/2013 6:57:00 AM)

    Contridictions,
    as to fate or a choice.
    Choice shows fear,
    where fate,
    has eyes that look out
    from the soul.
    Destiny,
    has no peer from
    shore to shore........iip (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 417 Points Sana Hernandez (4/29/2013 3:03:00 AM)

    Fate and Destiny are different. They just lead to the same place. I think that Fate never changes, it is the road you were born on, the beginning. It will stay the same, for a long time you will go in the same direction, Destiny on the other hand, does change, with you. It makes you decide, it lets you see either the Stop. Slow Down, or Go signs in life by giving you unconscious signs while you're on the road of Fate. The opportune moment is when Destiny is waiting at the end of the road, and fate has led you to a fork in the road, the opportunity depends on which side you take. Good or Bad. (It always comes down to that.) Saint or Sinner? The Finale (Fate) depends on the decisions (Destiny.)
    -SOH (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 583 Points Unwritten Soul (4/29/2011 11:39:00 PM)

    Flaunt by the poem...Well Arranged with handful and beautiful :) :) ...If fate is a cloth, destiny will be a bundle of thread while the texture and the way of the cloth fabricated always depend how the owner make it final...we have choice to make different we have right to do what we want as long as we try to make something better, as destiny is fine to make a comfortable fate to wear...Still the final fate hold by God, but He let us try first to choose what we want to have...Then the final end will come and sealed as final fate and sometimes fate is so unavoidable.... (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 0 Points Mohammad Akmal Nazir (4/29/2011 9:34:00 PM)

    It is a great poem. Fate is everything in human life. It can make or mar it. We are nothing but puppets in its hand.
    A wise and thought provoking write indeed. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 156 Points Ramesh T A (4/29/2011 4:55:00 PM)

    A different poem from Emerson noted for Nature poems! Here he very well says about the nature of fate. King or pauper fate controls all! (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 156 Points Michael Pruchnicki (4/29/2009 2:48:00 PM)

    We decide our fate by our actions. We can choose our goals and indeed must do so, because only by action in the world does one come to learn the fate that sits fast in the man (or woman, yes!) - 'fast' meaning that part of us which makes our very being possible. We can choose to slay our father's killer or not, as Hamlet could not because of his questioning and doubting as to the rightness of his cause. Laertes could take action because of his very nature. 'You wrong me and I will take my vengeance, ' Laertes says. Polonius could talk in fine-sounding generalities and offer advice, but he betrayed the trust of his own daughter when it came down to doing aomething. Queen Gertrude was a weak woman who fell sway to her passion for her brother-in-law. Even the murderous hand of Claudius worked to result in his own death when the poisoned rapiers were exchanged. In a sense, the only sense that matters, we each of us mold our own fortunes and reap the consequences of our choices, Emerson says as he agrees with the Bard himself. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 156 Points Kevin Straw (4/29/2009 6:24:00 AM)

    This poem reasserts Shakespeare's 'There is a destiny that shapes our end'. You do not have to believe the idea to admire the poetry. The first lines: 'Deep in the man sits fast his fate/To mould his fortunes, mean or great...' are fine. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 156 Points Thalia H (5/1/2007 8:16:00 PM)

    wtf i go to this school...im confused for some reason idk (i dont know) why....well anyways i gotta comment this cause its from my school..wierd.. well i like this poem i like how it ryhmes and has a meaning to the poem and i like the words indicated (Report) Reply

  • Rookie - 156 Points Janet Mulligan (6/6/2006 1:34:00 PM)

    When I read this poem, I find myself believing Emerson's notion was to give 'foresight' the power of an universal entity. That, which is to the measured effort opposite that man 'Cromwell' exherts in his world, is the strength and power of the universal entity. By this, says man is subject to the fate of himself. Whomever is genius is not pertinent, for his genius quality he hides from his ego self.

    I love this poem. (Report) Reply

Read all 18 comments »

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